April Martin is a filmmaker, photographer and activist. Her photographs and videos take a critical view of social, political and cultural phenomena. They viscerally take the viewer into the action whether at a protest of black women bearing their breasts as a symbol of resistance, night club full of queer people of color partying with strippers or the quiet pain of life in water-poisoned Flint, MI.
She is co-director of the feature length documentary, Cincinnati Goddamn, released in 2015, and currently featured in film festivals and universities around the country. Through news reports, first-person accounts, and cinema verité footage, the film traces protests in response to deaths of 15 African American men at the hands of Cincinnati police from 1995 to 2001. Martin has created other short documentaries with a range of subject matter that includes the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, young women’s health in underprivileged communities, the Kerry James Marshall’s Rythm Mastr Exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Over the past several years April has been creating political art with various social justice organizations like #blacklivesmatter, BYP100 and QTIPOC Resistance. The banners, flags and graffiti they created around themes like trans justice, water rights, and anti-black racism have become international symbols of resistance and liberation. As a grassroots community organizer she has worked with black.seed, #blacklivesmatter Bay Area working on the anti-gentrification campaign Save East 12th Street, #SayHerName, Black Brunch, and QTIPOC Resistance Pride Action campaigns. In 2016, she organized legal support and played a lead role for the 2016 MLK Bay Bridge Shutdown. Myself and 13 other black activists Shutdown the Bay Bridge on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which was also the 50th Anniversary of the Edmund Pettis Bridge. The bold act of resistance against police brutality made international news.
Last year, April decided to focus on doing more legal work to support marginalized communities. She joined the National Lawyers Guild in July of 2016 and her first legal observing duty was the shit show Republican National convention. Last November she spent several weeks living and working with the Water Protector Legal Collective at Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. April is currently co-producing a series of short Know-Your Rights videos with the National Lawyers Guild. The videos will inform immigrants, Arabs and resistors of injustice about their rights when interacting with law enforcement. In 2018 she was awarded the National Lawyer's Guild Unsung Hero Award.
For her visual art, April has been awarded a Puffin Foundation Grant, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Wexner Center for the Arts New Media Artist Award and has received fellowships from Northwestern University and C-Span Television. In addition, she has been awarded artist residencies at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Headlands Center for the Arts.
April is currently in post-production on the film “The Fierce Urgency of Now” a short documentary about 2018 mayoral race in Oakland, CA.